Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia (USA): Vines & Wines: State wine considered American champagne

Picture: Richmond Times-Dispatch

An article by Jack Berninger in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia (USA) referring to and quoting “noted wine blogger Christian Schiller”.
A Virginia sparkling wine is lighting up the state, even the East Coast of the United States.

The sparkler, Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay Brut, is a 100 percent chardonnay that should be a must-try for all.

Noted wine blogger Christian Schiller loved the Blanc de Chardonnay so much, he said it "is arguably the best sparkler produced in the U.S. East Coast and is as close as you get to (French) champagne outside of France (in terms of quality)."

High praise for a Virginia wine, indeed, but deserved recognition for this dry, nicely balanced sparkler that has aromas and tastes of apple and pear, and has an elegant, crisp mouth feel.

"I wholeheartedly concur that this is the best sparkling wine on the East Coast," said Matthew Perkins, wine buyer for Whole Foods Market in Short Pump, where the Blanc de Chardonnay is available for purchase ($27.99). Other stores and shops can special order.

"In fact, I describe it as one of the best sparkling wines made in the United States. I am drawn to the tiny champagne-style bubble structure, which lends to the delicate, elegant nature of the wine.

"I also love that it is very dry. Today's market is flooded with prosecco and many other sparkling wines with just enough residual sugar to attract a broad customer base. Unfortunately, this extra bit of sugar adds heaviness to the wine, which I find detracts from the overall experience. TJ has stayed true to style and has that lovely crisp, dry, delicate body. Thibaut-Janisson is the sparkling wine I reach for for any celebration."

One celebration where this sparkler was served was President Barack Obama's first state dinner in 2009.

Claude Thibaut is the man behind the Blanc de Chardonnay.

A native of France's Champagne region, Thibaut has been in the sparkling wine business for more than 25 years, and he's TJ's winemaker. He and his partner, Manuel Janisson of Champagne Janisson & Fils, have been producing this sparkler since 2005 (2007 was the first release) at the Afton-based winery.

Methode champenoise — double fermentation in the bottle — is used to produce the Blanc de Chardonnay.

"It's very complex; it doesn't allow for mistakes," he said of methode champenoise. "I have the right equipment. I have a pretty good idea what to do. I guess I have an advantage."

Posted: Sunday, December 18, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 9:49 am, Mon Dec 31, 2012.

Jack Berninger

The referenced article is: As Close as You Can Get to Champagne – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar, USA

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